We’re lucky to have so many interesting urban and outdoor places in the Madison area that make for beautiful photo backdrops.
Here are a few of my favorite family adventures to shoot:
Grab ice cream at your favorite place and walk together to a playground.
Plan a picnic in your backyard or neighborhood park.
Go for an urban art walk down State Street, around Capitol Square, or on Willy Street.
Tag along with your pup to the dog park.
Get early morning coffee and donuts and walk along the lake.
Maybe you just want to stick around home. I love that too! What do you like to do together as a family? Are there any milestones that you’d like documented? Maybe your daughter just learned to tie her shoes, or your son just learned their first song on the piano?
Here are a few ideas of what you could do at home:
Have a tickle fight
Play a board game
Sing and dance to your favorite song
Bake cookies or make a snack like popcorn
Play dress up
Get out your favorite toys
Jump on the bed (if your parents are okay with it!)
Read a book together
Play outside! Bike, swing, hike, go to your favorite playground, etc.
Play an instrument
We have so much variety for photography backdrops because we live in the midwest. Here are some ideas to take advantage of the seasons in Wisconsin:
Celebrate a birthday!!
Go to an apple orchard
Go to a pumpkin patch
Fall … Anything fall because of the changing color
Go to a Christmas tree farm to cut down your own tree
Decorate your Christmas tree
Brave the cold and go outside in the winter! Ice skate, build a snowman, have a snowball fight, or go sledding
I hope this helps you think of how you’d like your family to be photographed or documented with video. As always, feel free to contact me with your ideas or questions!
Beth Skogen Photography received a community impact grant called the Digital Dream Grant in May 2021 from Social Media Breakfast Madison and DreamBank to offer four Madison area businesses/organizations a two hour photography session each. Select businesses will receive images to help promote their business on social media and to update their website. In a time when businesses are struggling, spending funds on photography and marketing might not be at the top of their list. Beth Skogen wants to help!
DETAILS • Each of the four businesses/organizations in Dane County will receive up to 2 hours of photographing and around 40-50 final images to use in their marketing efforts in perpetuity. • Type of photography offered will be candid/lifestyle/behind the scenes imagery. View Beth’s portfolio. • Submissions will be accepted until 12am CST on June 30, 2021. • The four selected businesses/organizations will be notified by August 1, 2021. • Applicants must be doing business in Dane County. • Applicants must be the owner of the business/organization to be considered for this opportunity. • Applicants must have been financially impacted by the pandemic.
A panel of small business owners will review the applications and select four businesses/organizations that will receive a session to help in their marketing efforts.
Wow, just wow! I’m honored to be nominated by Expertise.com for being one of 23 great portrait photographers in Madison, Wisconsin. We have such a strong community of photographers and I’m excited to be highlighted as one of them.
You hired a professional photographer and downloaded your photos, what now? I want you to take off running now that you have your professional photos. Here are some ideas to get you started!
1. First things first, download and backup your images. I’ll send you a Dropbox link to download your photos but they won’t stay there for too long (unless we’re working together on a regular basis).
A good rule of thumb is to have 3 versions of your data; 1 of which should be saved at an off-site location as well.
I use and trust BackBlaze, which is continuously backing up my computer and hard drives. If a drive fails, I can go onto their website and either download data or they’ll send me a hard drive. I’ve only had great experience with them over the years AND it’s only $6 a month to backup unlimited data. That’s a pretty great deal. There are other services like them out there as well.
2. Update your website! How exciting that you’ll have new content to update on your website! I’ve added information (metadata) to your photos that will help with your search engine optimization (SEO). This metadata will also help when it comes to searching for them on your computer.
I name the files with your business name or first name if we had a portrait session which is helpful but for specific pages and posts you write, I’d recommend that you rename your photos to match your content before you upload the images to your website (business-keywords-spaced-like-so.jpg). It’d be a good idea to copy the original images into a ‘website update’ folder and rename the files accordingly from there.
Adding text to the ‘Alt Text’ area on your website is very important. Plug in a few keywords that make sense for that specific page on your website. If you’re posting your portrait, just add your name and/or business.
I add keywords to each image that people might use on Google to search for your business. Google will be able to access this metadata to help you get found online and ultimately get more business. I wrote a blog post all about this a few years ago.
You’ll notice two folders in your Dropbox link: a folder of high resolution images for printing and a folder of low resolution images for web use. You want to upload smaller images on your website so it loads as quick as possible. If you need different sizes other than what I’ve included, please let me know and I’ll send you different sizes.
An important note to my family clients: I never use names or personal information on your photos.
Do you want to learn more about SEO and make sure your website is working in your favor? Eagan Heath of Get Found Madison is the guy to contact. He can help you get found on the first page of Google, and who wouldn’t want that? His website is also full of digital marketing content regarding Facebook, Google Ads, website analytics, email marketing and much more. He’s such an awesome resource and all around great guy!
Need help updating your website or branding? Below is a list of graphic designers that can help with not only your website, but with any graphic design and branding needs such as your logo, business cards, marketing material, etc.
Maybe you need updated wording on your website. Amanda Brashi is copywriter helping creative service providers use conversational messaging to find their dream clients. Amanda Brashi
3. Update your social media profile photo. LinkedIn is probably the first place you might want to update. You could also update your Google photo, Facebook and Instagram while you’re at it.
4. Update everything else! You might as well start thinking about updating any marketing material you have (brochure, business cards, etc.).
5. Share images on social media – make a plan and stick to it! I know social media is a daunting task to commit to, but if you keep a calendar and stay consistant, I promise that’ll make it easier. I don’t suggest posting all of the images at once. Instead, post one at a time and write posts that will engage your followers, make it personal and ask questions. All I ask is that you please don’t put a filter on your images or edit them any further than the work I put into the photos. If you’re not happy with the final results, I’m happy to talk about what else can be done.
If you start to get a headache posting regularly on social media, reach out to Amber or David.
Amber Doss, EXCELlent Virtual Assistance – She can help business professionals in almost any aspect of their business from creating Excel templates that streamline repetitive tasks, to helping with email marketing and social media.
David Clark-Sally, Clark-Sally Consulting – He specializes in copywriting & editing and social media marketing & strategy.
6. Print a few out to have on display in your office! This sounds fun, right?Images tend to end up just staying on our devices since we live in such a digital world. Frame a few or just print a few out to hang on your office fridge.
7. Give credit when you can. Social media is such a great platform for tagging, mentioning and using hashtags, especially for small businesses! I am active on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. And of course my website is always a great option.
8. Share the love. Lastly, if you enjoyed your experience with me and would like to share, please consider leaving a review. This goes for yourself and any small business; put yourself out there and ask for reviews and then write them when you can.
A helpful tip when writing Google reviews: Since Google loves keywords, try to mention as many keywords as you can based on what kind of experience you had with the business. For example, if you had your portrait taken, some words to incorporate into your review would be: portrait, portrait photographer, portraits, Madison, Wisconsin.
I’m always here if you have questions about your photos. I’m happy to help! Thank you for hiring me and enjoy using your new photos!
A quality of mine that comes in handy during a portrait session, is my hyper-attention to DETAIL. Not only do I need to make sure I’m taking properly exposed and well composed images, I need to make my subject feel comfortable being photographed. On top of that, I look at where their hair is laying, their necklace and their shirt and collar.
Here’s a list of things I look for consistently during the session:
I make sure the necklace is in the center and the clasp is in the back.
If the person has bangs, I make sure they’re doing what the person wants! I would hate to have them swoop too far to one side when that’s the look they typically don’t like. Or maybe the hairs should be evenly spaced across the forehead. All very important!
If their hair is shorter in length, I look to make sure none of it is getting caught in their shirt, especially if they’re wearing a collared shirt.
I can’t stand when there are random hairs on the subject’s shoulders or caught in the shirt. I either pull smaller chunks of hair forward and push the rest back, pull a little on one side or push it all to the back. Most of the time the subject has a preference and I want the images to best represent them!
And if we’re shooting outside and a gust of wind comes up, I’ll fix it all over again! I’d rather fix during the shoot then try and photoshop a lot of the image afterwards.
Beth Skogen Photography is located in Madison, Wisconsin but is happy to travel. For more information about what to expect during a portrait session, check out this longer blog post.
Let me guess, you hate having your photo taken? It’s okay! I would say most people do, so you’re not alone. I’ve come up with some tips and tricks to hopefully make your portrait session in the Madison area less painful and more of a fun experience! I hope you walk away enjoying being photographed. Who knows! Maybe you’ll want to do it more often!
I have a client who told me she likes to have her photo taken professionally at least once a year for new material to use on social media and because her hair style changes. Some people don’t update their professional photo for years… so many years in fact, they look like a completely different person! You want people to recognize you and remember your business.
Keep in mind that I’m not the photographer for you if you’re looking for a marble, white or colored backdrop for each of your employees. I don’t have a studio and typically don’t use lighting other than my handy reflector. If you’re looking for that style, I can refer you to some incredible photographers in the Madison area. I prefer to showcase your environment behind you or a background that makes sense for you and your business. If you’re struggling to think of what that might be, we’ll brainstorm together and come up with the perfect location(s).
So let’s say you’ve booked a portrait session with me. We have a date, time and location set! I’m either coming to your office or we’re meeting downtown or outside somewhere. What now?
Before the session (what to wear, how to do your hair and make-up):
Wear something that you love and that makes sense for your job industry. If you’re a fitness instructor you would probably wear work-out apparel. If you’re a doctor, you might wear your lab coat. A lawyer or financial advisor would probably wear a suit jacket and tie and/or blouse and suit jacket. Feel free to keep it casual if that fits what you do! Think of all of the ways that you’ll be using these images.
Wear colors that compliment your skin. Navy is always a safe choice for most people. I highly recommend not wearing white to keep the focus on your face.
Stay away from wearing bright/neon colors and super busy patterns. Though, I love a subtle pattern or a pretty floral print. Again, it’s all about you and your style.
Don’t wear big/elaborate jewelry unless that’s a branding choice and the consistent look you rock.
Wear your hair how you usually do. If you go to the salon to get your hair and make-up done professionally, you might look different from how you normally look. I had a client go get her hair and make-up professionally done and she ended up not liking the final images because she didn’t look like herself. You want these images to best represent you!
Feel free to put a little bit more make-up on than what you usually would, but no need to over do it.
Covering up or blotting shine is a good idea. If you use concealer, make sure that it matches your skin tone. With winters in Wisconsin, sometimes the concealer or powder doesn’t match your skin tone compared to the shade of your skin in the summer months.
And lastly, floss.
During the session:
Try to relax.
Don’t tip your head too far down or tip it too far up.
Take breaks from looking and smiling at the camera! Feel free to look away and come back to the lens with a refreshed smile and eyes.
Try to “smize” with your eyes like Tyra says. And think positive thoughts! It’ll lift your eyes and cheeks up. Sometimes I tell my clients to flirt with my lens.
“What do I do with my hands?” I get this a lot, and sometimes it’s a challenge, but we’ll work together and make sure you look comfortable and not awkward with your hands. The next bullet point might help a little as well!
Think about doing something new every 5 seconds … switch your weight to the other leg, turn to the other side, put your hands on your hips, cross your arms, look around, tilt your head the other direction, touch your hair, bring a hand up to your neck or chin, laugh (out loud!), put your hands in your pockets if you have them, look down then look back to the camera…I could keep going! But I’ll stop here.
There are so many options! Don’t feel overwhelmed. We’ll simply just have fun and happen to be taking photos.
Kind words from clients that can be found on Google:
“I absolutely hate getting my picture taken. This experience changed that forever. Beth made me feel so at ease during the session and she got great pictures! I highly recommend her to anyone looking for a cool photographer that makes the whole situation a breeze!” -Helen
“Beth was wonderful to work with! She took me, a nervous camera shy person, and made me comfortable, and the shoot fun, and I am blown away by the photos!” -Martha
“Beth has provided our company with staff head shots and photography for our marketing over the past few years. Each time we get to work with her is a delight. She is flexible, easy to work with, and the end product is always excellent. Beth also provides us with a quick turnaround if we ever need it. We can’t get enough of her!” -Evan
“Beth is professional, charming and does excellent photographic work using natural light. Highly recommend and will definitely use again!” -Melissa
“Our firm recently hired Beth to complete professional headshots for a newly designed website. We were not interested in your traditional, white background shots. She knocked the cover off the ball with the location selection, timely editing, modern feel, and positive attitude. You can tell that Beth LOVES what she does and has fun with every client she works with. Without question she has my business for any updates our firm does over the years.” -Jordan
Beth Skogen is an on location photographer in Madison, Wisconsin, but is happy to travel!
Besides the images showcased on her website, more work can be seen at the following links:
When my dad told the family he’d like to go to a dude ranch in Montana this summer, I have to admit I was a little hesitant. I love the energy of a city, visiting coffee shops, people watching and finding unique restaurants on Instagram to try. I’ve always heard great things about Montana and I’m always up for an adventure! My brothers and sisters live all over the country, so going anywhere all together would always a treat. We met an hour south of Bozeman in the mountains at a place called, Nine Quarter Circle that has been around for over 100 years.
I watched videos online and looked at their website to learn more but it exceeded my expectations once we arrived and spent the week there. The owners and employees were so sweet and accommodating. They would even eat all three meals a day with us at the lodge which was at the top of a hill or 40 steps up to the top. By the end of the week, I was still out of breath getting to the top. Their employees consist of mostly college aged students from all over the world that come to work there from May-September which is the time frame of when they’re open.
This was the schedule for most days: Eat breakfast, two hour horseback ride into the hills, eat lunch, either ride again or fly fish in the afternoon, adult happy hour and then we’d all connect for dinner. My favorite day of all was when we learned how to square dance in the upper part of the barn. They have a caller drive in from Billings, Montana to lead the dance. I’m tempted to find a place to go square dancing in Madison! My second favorite day was driving around in Yellowstone National Park. What a trip.
Typical Beth situation…I didn’t pack nearly what I should have…I didn’t bring a pair of boots (which you need to ride horses), so we stopped to buy a pair after the airport. I rode horses in my Lululemon yoga pants and tank top or my mom’s sweater with a jean jacket and my Machines for Freedom cycling cap (gosh I love it so much!). For those of you who know me, I tend to wear comfortable dresses most summer days. I figured it’d be warm where we were going just like in Wisconsin, and apparently it was 90 degrees there the week before, which I’m so glad it was not. Thankfully my mom packed enough clothes for the two of us. And my niece let me wear he sweatshirt and sweatpants. (Thank you, Madi!!)
I love how my family embraced their inner cowboy/cowgirl. What a great vacation and so much fun to photograph everyone in such a gorgeous setting.
Shadow Drum and Bugle Corps had their first performance in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin last night. Their show is called The Body Celestial and they have these pyramids they carry and wear with mirrors on them. It looked like the field was twinkling because the sun was hitting all of the mirrors.
As they were getting their uniforms on and forming a two lines to walk to the field, they each had a triangle next to them. I was so distracted but the light bouncing everywhere. I took a lot of walking photos! They not only look super cool, but they reflect some really pretty light!!